Annotation hack brings Tic Tac Toe to YouTube

Just when you thought it wasn’t possible to waste even more time with YouTube, (s GOOG) here comes Interactive Tic Tac Toe, a game that makes use of YouTube’s annotation feature to bring some interactivity to the video site. Users can play against the game’s producer Rutter Jared, who appears on-screen to comment on each and every move, mocking silly mistakes and ultimately prevailing in most cases.


YouTube introduced its annotation feature some three years ago, allowing producers to jump from one video to another. Producers have long utilized this to build interactive adventures and photo challenges, loading a new video every time the viewer chooses an option.

Interactive Tic Tac Toe takes this type of YouTube hack to the extreme by presenting a new video for every single possible move available in the game. All in all, Jared produced 131 videos, which he tagged with more than 1,000 annotations, he told us via email. The whole thing took him about a month of 14-hour workdays. Adding all those annotations on YouTube took more than three days alone, Jared said. However, the most tedious task was the video editing. “Some nights I would set my alarm and wake up every hour to re-edit videos,” he told us.

This Tic Tac Toe game is only one of a number of videos produced by Jared that make use of YouTube’s annotation feature. He started to produce videos for the site about a year ago, and has been able to make a living as a YouTube producer since November.

“YouTube is my first actual job, and I love it,” the 21-year-old told us. “It’s the greatest job in the world.” Jared is now working on growing his viewership and eventually wants to become as big as Mystery Guitar Man and other YouTube stars.

YouTube has been working on ramping up the monetization of its content on recent months with a number of initiatives that aim to help producers become more successful. The Google-owned site purchased Next New Networks in March, and recently sent a number of YouTubers to college to freshen up on video production and storytelling skills. Jared’s interactive adventures may not quite fit in with some of these more polished productions coming out of the Next New stable, but his inventiveness goes to show that YouTube producers who want to make a living with online video are going to push the boundaries of what’s possible on the site.